Some Write It Hot

December 31, 2010

Time Flies by Ellie Heller

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Does it seem like the end of the year is coming more quickly at you than usual this year? I am amazed at how fast this year has seemed to have gone by.

Curious about my sense that time was flying by I began looking up information and I ran across several articles talking about perceptions of time. Basically I found out that as we get older how we experience time changes. Looking further, I found there have been many studies done on perceptions of time but these sentences, from an summary article on Suite101, get to the gist on current thoughts on perception of time:

The theoretical and most widely advanced answer for the subjective acceleration of time with aging says that subjective time is relative to a person’s lifetime. To a 5-year-old, for example, a year seems like a long time, specifically 1/5 of a lifetime. To someone 65 years old, however, a year is 1/65 of a lifetime and seems to pass so quickly as to be hardly noticeable.

Read more at Suite101: Why Does Time Speed Up as One Gets Older?

I’m certain I’m not the only one who can remember traveling as a child and sometimes it seemed like it took forever! to get places. Of course, in hindsight, given the amount of time I had already experienced, it *did* take forever.

Well then, that explained things. Time certainly was flying by at a faster rate than it had before.

As a writer, though, I think about this sense of the passage of time as I write, and even more when I read. Particularly when I come across a paranormal character who has lived for a hundred years (or more!). Part of me simply cannot imagine how these characters experience time.

Given what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve learned about perceptions of time, there seems to be a conundrum of how you would have a character who has lived for many, many years in the mortal world, particularly if they were once mortal, be able to relate to the sense of time a mortal experiences. How does someone, who has supposedly lived for three or four times as long as I have, deal with mere mortals?

Think about it, if the character has supposedly lived two hundred years, a day is 1/73,000 of their life experience. If, as the author above notes, a year is hardly noticeable to someone at sixty five, day to a 200 yr old is a blink of an eye. How can they function and live, even be effective among the necessary time constraints mortals have (and writers place!) on their time?

Of course, then I start thinking solutions, because otherwise my disbelief is no longer suspended and I can’t go on with the story. Given the amount of paranormal stories I read (and write!) I have to come up with some solution to deal with this odd conflict I’ve raised on my own.

One thing which might happen, then, is perhaps their perception of time at whatever age they became paranormal simply halts. Simple and elegant, however there are instances, say waiting interminably in a line, when I’m glad my sense of time has changed. And, personally, I can’t reconcile how someone could experience all those years and not have their sense of time affected. Plus, think about it, there’d be some radical changes in attitude with teenage vamps complaining ‘are we there yet?’

No, for me, personally, that didn’t work.

Hmm, an elegant solution is found in High Fantasy. In most stories long lived characters reside in the mortal world, but their sense of how time runs is influenced by an external world, one which their rhythms are in sync with. In this scenario the long lived paranormal character is both living the days faster (say a month in mortal time is equal to a week of their time, then day is experienced as if it were one quarter of a day) and slower (using the same parameters as above, during one year in the mortal world they will only age three months).

Examples of this are stories of characters who have only lived a season in ‘Elf havens’ coming back home to find years have passed in the mortal world. For me, this then becomes easier to understand that an ‘immortal’, in this situation, experiences time at different pace than mortals do, in part because their ‘clock’ runs at the pace this external location does.

But when you remove this external location, as is frequently (but not always) the case in contemporary paranormal literature, and have former mortals living in a mortal world for hundreds of years, I can’t jive things at all.

For now, I’ve simply let myself agree to suspend my disbelief, but in the back of my mind I still mull it over. Clearly there is no one ‘right’ or correct solution to this, and I’m not sure that anyone but me thinks there needs to be one. It’s just the way my mind works.

On the other hand, those hours long, all night sex sessions some authors include? Well, they make a lot more sense to me now. 🙂

September 23, 2010

The Distraction of New Ideas–Part Two by Ellie Heller

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Last time I talked about getting rid of those top of the brain new story ideas which are clamoring for attention while you are trying to write. And I mentioned I tend to save a note, perhaps the scene with three or four tag line ideas as to why it happened or a short paragraph if there’s a more solid story racing around. This is because for me, ideas come in one of two categories, scenarios I wonder about and people I see doing things and I wonder what they’re thinking.

For a scenario I note the trigger and perhaps one or two thoughts I’ve had, but generally not full sentences and no characters. Just the scene and the ideas it sparked.

Something like:

Ambulance – u-turn in forest. Stops.
-Attack from inside?
-Dump drugs/chemicals/body?
-Spill coffee in lap?
-Let changed Were creature out to roam?
Then I force myself to stop. Just stop.

Okay, usually I do succeed; sometimes one of the ideas becomes so entangled with the idea for a character I instead jot down a paragraph about the character and scene. While I always try to use good grammar, just getting it down and out of my head is top priority here:

If Daria had just done her job and searched in the Hudson’s garage as well as the house while they were there with the warrant Harris wouldn’t be standing in the sweltering sun without a lick of shade going through the dumpster which supposedly contained their trash. Although, it wasn’t like Daria to be slack on the job, heck, she usually busted balls over someone screwing up like this. Which made Harris wonder why the screw-up had occurred in the first place, and why she wasn’t ripping her partner Jude up one side and down the other. She was clearly covering for him. What hold did Jude have over her that she’d let him get away with a stupid mistake? Harris would find out, if only so he’d know her secret too and make her cut him some slack. Some days being low man on the totem pole at the sheriff’s office was hell; no matter how much you’d done before you got here, you were treated like a greenie and watched like a hawk. And given the worst and nastiest jobs; right now, sweat dripping off him, eyes squinted against the glare of all the white paper in the mid-summer sun, life pretty much sucked.

There done, I have it for later.

If, and it’s happened, I seem to have a lot of ideas (and this does seem to be inverse to how far I am in a piece, i.e. the further I am the more ideas will pop into my head, keeping me from finishing my current project) I try to set a time or number limit generally three ideas or fifteen minutes.

For me scenes and scenarios are always easy to come up with and, along with them, some general ideas for stories. I’m always curious, though, how other people come up with their ideas.

When not distracted, you can find Ellie Heller at her blog

September 15, 2010

The Distraction of New Ideas–Part One By Ellie Heller

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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This happens to me almost every day. There I am, kids are in bed, dog is walked, i.e. distractions are at a minimum and I am ready to write. I open the document and…I remember this idea I had for a story this afternoon, involving a car which crashed into a pool, a were who is deathly afraid of swimming and…

It’s like the donkey in Shrek jumping up and down yelling ‘Pick me! Pick me!’

NO! I need to stick to my story, right?

For me the answer is yes, and no. One of the reasons I write is I’m always thinking of scenarios and stories which pivot around an odd thing I’ve seen in real life. Like the cop standing in the paper recycling dumpster at the dump or the ambulance which did a u-turn in a forest preserve, sirens and lights blaring, then pulled over to the side and parked.

I simply can’t help but wonder why? And then scenes and scenarios build and, well, I’m off on a tangent which is not my always helpful in my quest to finish my current work.

However, I don’t want to loose these ideas, some I can use now, others I’ll use later, so before I start on my current project, if there’s an idea incessantly demanding attention, I open my ‘story ideas’ document. And save a note, perhaps the scene with three or four tag line ideas as to why it happened or a short paragraph if there’s a more solid story racing around.

That’s it. NO MORE.

Then, with newest idea is no longer floating on the top of my head and distracting my attention, I can get back to work on my current story.

Not everyone does this. Some people are ruthless and ignore the ideas, or make a really, really short mental note and continue forward with their work in progress. How do you deal with new story ideas interrupting your current work?

Ellie writes hot romance in variety of sub-genres when she’s not distracted. Read more about what she’s up to right now at Ellie Heller’s Blog, Ellie Writes Too

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